Navigating the crowded landscape of digital influencers, Vanessa and Veronica, known as the Merrell Twins, have distinguished themselves uniquely. Their journey reflects more than just online popularity; it’s a testament to the adaptability and innovation inherent in today’s creator economy.
Diving into their backstory, Veronica speaks of a time when acting was their primary focus. “We started posting consistently on our YouTube channel in 2013 when we were about 16. We saw YouTube as an opportunity to put ourselves out there. Trying to get acting roles was challenging, with feedback often being, ‘Oh, they don’t have a lot of experience.’ And we kept wondering, how do we gain experience if we aren’t booking anything?”
Turning adversity into opportunity, they saw YouTube as their stage. Veronica adds, “We used YouTube as an outlet to show people that we can do skits, we can do funny challenges, just kind of show who we are.” Their dedication is evident, with Veronica highlighting their commitment, “We haven’t missed a Tuesday video post in ten years.”
However, the digital landscape they ventured into was vastly different from today’s. Vanessa recalls, “When we started YouTube about ten years ago, gaining followers was easier, algorithms were different, and platforms like TikTok didn’t even exist. It was just YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter.” Vanessa also notes, “People didn’t understand why we were making YouTube videos. They thought it was weird and didn’t know you could make a living off of it.” However, their initial objective wasn’t purely monetary. “We posted on YouTube for fun and to put ourselves out there, hoping a TV show might notice us,” Vanessa shares, “but it turned into something much bigger than we ever imagined.”
Veronica reflected on their journey, saying, “My sister and I never really had a viral video… you’ll see some people post on YouTube and they’ll get 10 million views in one day.” She emphasized that while they’ve experienced significant traction on their videos, “We haven’t ever had anything that viral.” However, Veronica believes that their true strength lies in their live-streaming efforts. “Something that has contributed a lot to our audience in their engagement is we do live streams… that makes us connect with our viewers a lot closer.”
When the topic of consistency arose, Veronica stated, “I think consistency is a very important key. When you’re posting on YouTube is to always be consistent… we haven’t missed a Tuesday since we started posting in 2013.” She also touched upon the value of collaborations, saying, “Another big key thing is collaborations with other YouTubers. That has also been a huge thing that has helped our careers in the past.”
Echoing her sister’s sentiments, Vanessa shared her perspective on the world of content creation. “I think with social media, the facade is that it’s super easy… but it’s a very, very small chance that you would blow up overnight and gain millions of followers.” She concluded with a potent message for aspiring creators, emphasizing, “If you’re passionate about it, someone’s going to watch it.”
A Bond Beyond Sisterhood
The twins’ journey isn’t just about creating content; it’s about showcasing the depth of their bond as sisters and how that bond transcends into a dynamic that’s both relatable and unique.
Veronica reflected on their shared passions that brought them to the platform, “We’ve always had a passion to do the same things. Ever since we were little. We always wanted to act. We always wanted to play instruments. We wanted to sing. So, we were bound to always be doing, creating together.” Their mutual interests set the stage for a shared journey on YouTube. But as with any journey, there have been challenges. Veronica admitted that there were ups and downs, but the presence of a twin sister meant that they were never alone in facing these challenges. Their synergy allowed them to bounce ideas off each other, and when one faced creative blocks, the other was there to help navigate through.
Vanessa added depth to their bond by comparing their relationship with the larger universe of twins. “Being twins is special and different. There are twins out there that don’t get along and there are twins that do. Like every family, some get along very well and some don’t.” She highlighted that their unity is not just about being twins, but about sharing a genuine friendship.
But it’s not just their bond that sets them apart. Veronica brought attention to the challenges of solo content creators: “I always feel really bad for people who are doing everything by themselves. It’s so much work to address the camera solo. In contrast, my sister and I talk to each other, brainstorm together, and even collaborate with our dad on editing. It’s a collective effort, and I truly empathize with those who have to manage it all on their own.” She gave a nod to the behind-the-scenes efforts that often go unnoticed but are integral to creating content.
VidCon Baltimore: A Personal Connection with Fans
The Merrell Twins have been to numerous VidCon events worldwide, from Australia to London. Yet, every VidCon holds a unique experience for them. When asked about their first-ever experience at VidCon Baltimore, Vanessa expressed her joy, saying, “When we get to go to a VidCon in an area or state that we’ve never visited before, it’s fun because we get to meet newer fans.” For the twins, these events aren’t just about showing up; they’re about forging a connection with their viewers. For the Twins, the real joy is in “putting a face to the username.” Vanessa emphasizes this connection, saying, “It makes that person human. It makes a special connection.” It’s this real-life interaction, seeing the human side of the digital presence, that makes VidCon events so treasured for them.
Veronica chimed in about the evolution of VidCon, highlighting the changing roster of creators. “VidCon, even five years ago, wasn’t inviting the same creators as they are today,” she noted. This dynamic environment is both exciting and humbling for the twins. They’re grateful to still be considered relevant and to be invited to such events after years of content creation. But beyond just the content creators and the fans, VidCon serves as a platform for networking and business opportunities. “We get to meet up with some brands and meet up with just people in the business that we normally wouldn’t be able to talk to in person,” Veronica added.
Building on the Merrell Twins’ focus on forging genuine connections with their fans at VidCon, this year offered them some truly unforgettable encounters.
Asked about experiences from this year’s VidCon that made a profound impact on them, Veronica shared a heartwarming story about a fan they met during a meet and greet. This viewer had been following their journey for a decade. “He brought us all of our favorite things,” Veronica recalled, emphasizing the depth of connection their content fosters.
Another poignant memory was shared by Vanessa about a young girl who had faced bullying at school. For her, the meet and greet with the Merrell Twins was the highlight of her year. Vanessa recalled the powerful moment of looking into the girl’s eyes, offering words of comfort, and assuring her that the hardships she was enduring wouldn’t last forever. For the twins, such encounters underscore their mission to be a beacon of positivity, whether online or in person.
Further underlining the global reach and impact of their content, Veronica reminisced about meeting a fan from Canada. This individual, whose primary language was French, shared that the Merrell Twins’ videos played a pivotal role in her English learning journey. Veronica mused on the significance of this, saying, “It’s just a good reminder that not just people here in the United States are watching us… everyone’s dealing with all of these things, and it’s just cool to be able to connect with everyone and meet everyone from everywhere.”
Following their poignant reflections on fan interactions, the conversation at VidCon shifted to evolving digital trends that could shape the content they produce in the coming months.
When asked about emerging patterns or insights from the event, Vanessa highlighted the growing significance of “shorts” on YouTube, “It has always been our favorite platform because it is the platform we started on, and there’s a lot of cool things happening with shorts.” Vanessa expressed her admiration for the platform’s adaptability, particularly its foray into the “shorts” domain, similar to the brevity found on TikTok. While they’ve achieved considerable success and a massive subscriber base, they still recognize the value of these short-form videos in driving further growth. Her message was clear: while platforms like TikTok are gaining traction, content creators should not overlook the potential of YouTube shorts, both as a growth tool and a revenue stream. VidCon served as a reaffirmation for the twins about the direction they should be taking with their content in the near future.
Adapting to the Digital Age: The Merrell Twins Discuss Shifting Trends in Entertainment and the Rise of Creator Platforms
The evolution of content creation and consumption has seen remarkable shifts over the years. The Merrell twins reflect on these changes, particularly in the realm of influencer marketing and the broader creator economy.
Veronica observes, “There’s been so many trends over the years. I think right now YouTube is in this Mr. Beast era where the content is like 24 hours on a boat or something like that.” She acknowledges the allure of this trend but admits that it’s not their passion. The quick and flashy nature of the content is a trend they’ve noticed, explaining that the editing pace has increased substantially: “People’s attention spans are way less… Every 3 seconds, it needs to be attention-grabbing.”
Vanessa offers a thoughtful perspective on the broader shifts in media, noting the monumental impact of streaming platforms. “When we were 16, traditional media like movies and TV shows was so different… Streaming has become such a huge part of our world,” she comments. She goes on to elaborate on the influence YouTube has had on the viewing habits of today’s audience, emphasizing the immediacy and vastness of content available. Vanessa draws attention to the challenges this brings: “People’s attention spans have changed completely because of social media. So movies and TV shows in traditional media have had to adapt.”
Highlighting the unexpected twists in the content creation world, Veronica finds the foray of mainstream celebrities into YouTube quite surprising: “Another thing that I found shocking is the number of celebrities, and famous actors who have created YouTube channels.” Vanessa chips in, noting the unique perspective it provides, “Now we’re getting to learn about their personalities and stuff like that. That was shocking to me, too.”
The Merrell Twins on the Power of Recognition: Finding Validation and Motivation in Awards
For many creators, the process of content creation is often an amalgamation of passion, hard work, and a hint of self-doubt. Vanessa and Veronica, resonate deeply with this sentiment. When asked about the awards and nominations they’ve received over the years and the meaning they hold, Vanessa candidly shares, “The awards have always been shocking. Like to get nominated and to win has always just been very surreal…”
Despite their success, the twins remain grounded, with Vanessa stating, “We don’t consider ourselves famous. That’s never really been a goal of ours.” However, these awards have undeniably served as an affirmation. She elaborates, “…it’s just like a bit of a confirmation that we’re doing the right thing. And yes, people do support you and like your videos and your content.”
Veronica reminisces about the surreal feeling of accepting awards, particularly the sensation of being acknowledged by fellow creators. “ I think in those moments when they say, ‘and the winner is Merrell Twins,’ that feeling of going up on stage and saying thank you, and then seeing all of the other YouTubers that we watch, watching us accept this award…” she trails off, reminiscing the overwhelming emotion of such moments.
The recognition doesn’t just end with awards; it permeates into real-life interactions with peers in the industry. Vanessa points out, “…when you look into the audience and see all these famous influencers, all of a sudden now you put into perspective that they know who you are.” It’s a sentiment that showcases the duality of being content creators; while they have a vast digital presence, real-world validations remain paramount.
Tying it all back to their purpose, Veronica reflects, “It’s very rewarding and a good reminder to keep going… We’re making it for other people and to entertain other people and to keep people happy and take them away from the stress of life and distract them maybe for like 10 minutes.”
Golden Nuggets for Aspiring Creators: Consistency, Passion, and Facing Rejection
When it comes to the digital world of influencers and content creators, few understand the dynamics and demands as deeply as the Merrell twins. Here’s a deep dive into their advice and reflections for those looking to embark on a similar journey:
Starting with a comforting reassurance, Vanessa speaks to those who may feel overwhelmed. She acknowledges that the digital space can be daunting. “Don’t feel overwhelmed because it’s a lot, but it’s okay to feel that way.” She emphasizes the significance of consistency, urging aspiring creators to stick to schedules they set for themselves. In her eyes, consistency isn’t just about maintaining an online presence; it’s a means to combat self-doubt. She passionately shares, “This is your sign to just go for it. Just do it. Don’t hold back anymore. You know that self-doubt. You have to ignore that. And just go for 100%.” She underscores that even if things don’t work out, one can always take pride in having tried.
Delving deeper into the mechanics, Veronica acknowledges the two sides to content creation: the motivational and the analytical. While staying consistent and persistent is crucial, understanding the platform’s intricacies is equally important. “Always look at the analytics, to always see what you can do differently,” she suggests, underscoring the importance of adaptability. Veronica’s biggest advice is to “post consistently, and make content that you love no matter what.” She ends by demystifying the perceived barriers to entry: “You have everything you need on your phone. If you have a camera, there are apps to edit.”
Sharing her final thoughts, Vanessa brings up a quote that has personally resonated with them: “Rejection is protection.” She elaborates, highlighting that when things don’t go as planned, it could be a sign that something better is on the horizon. Veronica adds to this, emphasizing the importance of mental well-being, especially in today’s digital age: “Protect your mind with what you watch on the internet.” Her message is clear – while the digital realm offers opportunities, it’s essential to maintain a positive mindset and be discerning about what one consumes.
As the conversation winds up, the Merrell twins reiterate the essence of their philosophy. Vanessa offers a simple yet powerful mantra that encapsulates their outlook on life: “Love is just the word.” Amidst the challenges and competition in the digital space, such words provide much-needed clarity and inspiration for those venturing into the realm of content creation.